ábi is a rising korean-american pop/r&b artist with mixed heritage, who is inspired by her duality in identity, and strives to represent the AAPI + multicultural community in the music industry. Since her introduction on SBS KPop Star Season 3, ábi has continued her path to disrupt the dynamic of the current industry as an advocate for diversity and mental health. ábi’s style of songwriting openly shares personal experiences of navigating racial trauma and anxiety, with of course, an added angsty twist of love and heartbreak. With the ultimate hope of creating common ground in the communities around her, ábi continues to write and produce music at her current home base, in Nashville, TN.
Instagram: @abigailkim_ | instagram.com/abigailkim_
Thank you for taking this interview! How has the New Year been for you so far as an artist?
Thank you so much for having me! It has been a season of transitions, but most of all further exploring what ábi sounds like in 2022. I’m starting to work more closely on the production aspect of the upcoming projects I’m working on, which overall has been such a great learning experience!
Can you tell us how you've transformed from the beginning to now as an artist?
For sure! The front-end of jumping into this industry was a lot more about developing fundamental skills as a vocalist, and also determining the style and genre of music I felt I resonated with most. I spend a lot more time now thinking about how my songwriting and lyric writing reflects who I am as an artist, and how various production elements can be incorporated to illustrate a point of view/feeling.
How did you come up with your latest project?
Growing up in a blended family that spent time split between Orange County, CA, and South Korea ultimately provided me with the perspective I have today. There was a sense of freedom and joy I felt from the time I spent in the U.S. in my early years. In some ways, I felt more accepted than I did in Korea. I felt I could relate more to the music, the fashion, and the culture. That was, at least, until I actually moved to the U.S. and started to pursue a career in the music industry here. It made me realize that context is everything. I feel so privileged to have had such great opportunities and experiences in the U.S. at an early age, and my latest release “white” speaks to the misconceptions I’ve identified throughout the years while also finding hope for the future in remembering where I come from and how that has made me the artist I am today.
Where are you from originally?
I was born in Chicago, IL, but primarily grew up in Daejeon, South Korea!
Where do you live now?
I’m currently based in Nashville, TN.
Do you think where you live impacts how your music is made?
Absolutely! Where you live can impact your network/the people around you, and we all have different influences and stories to share. I’m always looking forward to new connections being made, but I’m also incredibly grateful for the talented team I’ve worked with for several years now. At this time, most of my writing and recording happens remotely!
What was the inspiration to make music your career?
Music was my first great love, and I’m especially passionate about creating more space for AAPI artists in the U.S. music industry. I’ve always felt a great lack of representation, and I hope to change that.
How do you want to shape your career?
I’m learning and re-learning every day that I can only control what is within my control. I’m so grateful for my two co-writers and producers, Noah Wiehl and Nick Groat, who have allowed and encouraged me to be fully transparent and honest in my writing. My ultimate hope is to inspire the younger generation in South Korea and the AAPI community as a whole; no matter how “impractical” our culture may deem our career path in music to be, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Do you work on a tight timeline always or do you go with the flow when it comes to your music?
Both! I’m an avid planner. A perfectionist. I know exactly what I want, how I want something to sound, what purpose I want each song to serve. But, I’m also a strong believer in teamwork. Anything I do has so much more meaning and value when it involves others and a collaborative effort. Working with a team has taught me to be more flexible, adaptive, and open to change (among so many other things!). It truly has made me more resilient and determined to represent not only myself with each release, but also the talented individuals behind each project.
How did your latest title of your music come to be?
When you think of the word “white”, you think: clean slate, fresh, brand new, beginnings, purity, innocence, light, softness, perfection. It’s an understatement to say I was a sheltered child—as much as I was exposed to as a 25%-Caucasian, 75%-Korean-American third-culture-kid, there was a lot I was guarded from. The title “white” came from the first verse: “Things used to be so easy, hard to even say what’s missing—from this world of mine, painted in white” and the growing realization that things (or people, or anything really) aren’t always as they seem.
Is it hard to let go of the music when it is done?
Not at all. Do I get nervous about new releases? Definitely. But as I see it, each release is a celebration—and I’m so grateful that music gives me an opportunity that requires me to find the courage to share my voice and my story. If you know me well, you’ll know I always have something more to
say—so every song I send off into the world, I send with all my love. And you’ll know there’s going to be more coming :’)
Do you feel an emotional attachment to your music?
A thousand percent, yes. All of my songs are derived from a personal experience, so some are more difficult to speak about than others. There’s a lot of both hurt and healing in each song. Singing is somehow just an easier way for me to communicate and share my experiences. I guess I just have faith that someone else in the world has also felt the same, and can relate.
How would you describe your music in one word to someone who hasn't listened to it yet?
Where do they go to listen NOW?
Available on all streaming platforms (+ in South Korea!) :’)
Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Instagram/Facebook, TikTok, Resso & Luna, YouTube Music, Amazon, Soundtrack by Twitch, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal, iHeartRadio, ClaroMusica, Saavn, Boomplay, Anghami, KKBox, NetEase, Tencent, Qobuz, Triller (beta), Yandex Music (beta), MediaNet
What has been the best fan reaction to your music?
This. (Start playing at 1:28-4:30 ;))
Is there anything exciting coming up for you?
Yes! Get ready for a summer of releases!
Are you performing the song anywhere LIVE?
I actually have not–yet! Waiting for the right time to share :) And can’t wait to!
Give us all your socials and links so fans can link up with you!
Artist Website, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook – Let’s be friends!